Sussex Community Crisis Housing Services, Inc. History

Our Beginnings: 1980's

Crisis House began as the vision of the Sussex County Interagency Council. The members noticed the growing number of homeless and decided to offer shelter at  no cost to families residing in Sussex County. In 1981, a Board of Directors was established for Sussex Community Crisis Housing Services, Inc. The State of Delaware provided a one-time grant to purchase the property  on 110 Railroad Avenue, which became the Crisis House. After minor renovations, the house opened for the first residents in February 1982.

Changing Clientele: 1990's

By the onset of the 1990's, the clientele was changing, the number of single parent families were growing and finding permanent low cost housing was very scarce. It was virually impossible to identify housing for the families within the 3 day period.

At this time, the Board began to search for a new building with the thought of branching out into transitional housing. Transitional housing has been demostrated to be an effective tool in addressing the causes and problems of homelessness. It offers longer term housing to a select few homeless families wh have demonstrated a desire to break the cycle of homelessness. The Board identified a property located several blocks from the Crisis House that could be renovated into five transitional apartments and an office with a community room. With grants from a variety of funders, the Northport Transitional Housing program came to life at the beginning of 1990.

Single Family Housing: 1992

In 1992, a shell of a house was donated by Lane Builders and was relocated on the corner of the existing property located at Rosa Street. Throughout the next three years funding was obtained to renovate the structure and turn it into a modern single family dwelling for a family aspiring to homeownership.

Services: 2000 to Present

Throughout the years SCCHS entered into several partnerships with area churches to provide temporary housing for families when space was not available at our facilities. Agency staff provides case management and referral services to the clients while at the temporary locations.

During this period, we saw the need to establish a specific program to meet the needs of the older homeless women 55+. This population dramatically increased with the current economic conditions. The loss of jobs, or reduced work hours put housing in jeopardy; many had to give up living situations to make ends meet. The program funded through the Fund for Women has changed the lives of over 100 women in the past three years.

Our Future: 2012+

The lack of affordable housing in Sussex County has lead our agency to embark on a new project that will increase our transitional apartment count from 5 to 6 apartments. We are currently in the process of developing a new apartment building that will house 6 new apartments. The structure will be placed on our existing property on North Street, once the new structure is the complete, the old building will be removed.   

Our current facility that houses the crisis Houses is a very old and inefficient structure that is held together with a "wing and a prayer." In an effort to to create a modern, cost efficieent and program appropriate facility, a local family has offered to build a new structure to meet our needs.

The structure will also be placed on the North Street property, creating a comprehensive housing campus to meet the needs of the homeless in Sussex County.  While the Town of Georgetown Planning and Zoning approved our application for the conditional use permit for the new Crisis House, the Town Council did not.  The project is on hold until we are able to reapply. 

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